Congress leaders go into huddle to revive party

High command upset over partys poor performance, groupism in State

With a view to bring pressure on senior leaders, including State party President G Parameshwara to perform better, the high command made the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) hold a meeting in Bangalore on Sunday to work out strategies to strengthen the party.

AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, in-charge of party affairs of Karnataka, came to Bangalore to chair a meeting of senior party leaders and take stock of the situation. All four union ministers, who are MPs from Karnataka, past presidents of KPCC and the four AICC general secretaries from the State, were among nearly 30 invitees for the meeting. The day-long meeting was held at a resort in Bidadi. In the recent years, the Congress had not conducted a meeting of all the bigwigs irrespective of the post they held.

Union Ministers S M Krishna, K H Muniyappa, Veerappa Moily and Mallikarjun Kharge made it to the meeting. AICC general secretaries Oscar Fernandes, Vinaya Kumar Sorake, B K Hari Prasad and Krishnamurthy too sat through the meeting. Among the past KPCC presidents, the only absentee was B Janardhana Poojary.

It is said a section of the senior leaders from the State had complained to the high command, including Sonia Gandhi, that there is a need to revive the party and also direct Parameshwara to take everyone into confidence while taking decisions. Those who have approached the high command had pointed out that in the last one year the Congress had lost all the four byelections held in the State. The performance was no better in the elections to the ZP/TP and a byelection to a corporation ward in Bangalore City.

It is said that the high command has learnt that the party is withering also because there is hardly any bonhomie left between the MPs. There is no concerted effort to work as a team whenever the party faced elections. There should be more interaction and sharing of responsibility among the seniors, is the direction of the high command. Keeping this in mind, the meeting discussed certain issues affecting the unity of the party. Union Minister K  H Muniyappa was one among the very few who spoke openly about the problems dogging the party, it is said.

Internal squabbles

Besides focussing on internal squabbles and its negative impact on the party’s prospects, the leaders also discussed how it should gear up to face the next Assembly polls. The party’s strategy could be finalised based on the outcome of the legal battle being faced by BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa.

In case Yeddyurappa comes out of judicial custody and floats a new party, then the Congress will have to plan in such a way that it should counter the new challenge too, it is said. The party did not discuss much on the Bellary bypoll but decided to focus its energy on planning for the next assembly elections.

While speaking to reporters after the meeting, Parameshwara, Siddaramaiah and Moily admitted that the meeting  discussed thorny issues. Siddaramaiah said: “Rumour is spread that there is a lack of unity among the seniors. Such developments will create confusion among workers. There was a long debate on this issue itself.”

Parameshwara said the leaders have been asked not to air their personal opinion on poll tie ups for the Assembly polls. It is left to the high command to take decisions on such issues, he said.

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